Summertime. (and the livin’ is easy)*




It is summertime and I needed to remind myself of that fact.  We have been

so inundated with rain and floods, tornadoes all around us for the last 3 weeks

or so that I’ve kind of lost sight of the dates.  It is almost mid-July- this would have

been my mother’s 95th birthday.   And she would have loved being that old and

alive.  She would have loved MY grandsons- loved to see Jordan and Luke getting

settled in their lives- she loved living.  Everyday she would celebrate life.

I miss her.

I never saw my mother depressed.  ANGRY- inquisitive- loving- worried- determined-

whimsical- yes to all of those – but never depressed.

I take after her in a lot of things, but she was made of tougher stuff than I am.

I grew up determined not to be like my mother.

I vowed I would be different.

And now, sometimes,

I wish I were more like her.

Summertime with Ella and Satchmo

Mommy and Daddy

Happy Birthday, Mom.

Building a big cake!

My niece recently said on her facebook status,

“We are a family that  likes to make big cakes.”

So true.

We made one for her father’s birthday one year that was 5 different cakes

all stacked up on top of each other.

And today we made a 5 layer cake with filling and frosting- a chocolate

decadent cake that was so large that no one could eat even the thinnest slice

by themselves!


Here it is layer by layer-  Chocolate chip cookies- 1


Chocolate cake- layer # 2


Chocolate marshmallow fluff – icing# 1


Chocolate chip cookie dough- layer # 3



More Chocolate marshmallow icing


another chocolate cake- layer # 4


top layer chocolate chip cookie- # 5.


Chocolate Ganache icing.



Drizzling Dark chocolate and sea salt caramel on the sides and top.




Garnishing with marshmallows and chocolate bits.


Lighting the candles!


Admiring the cake!!!


Cutting the cake with an electric knife – thin slices were mandatory!


A peek inside-

Well that is the pictorial review of our endeavor.

We all baked a part of the cake- or made an icing- and then we brought it together

and built it.  My family has lots of birthdays in October- so we decided to celebrate them

all with this giant cake.

Happy Birthday to Elizabeth, Martha, Roger, Allyson, Aaron, Lily—,Dianne, and Kieran.

Did I forget anyone?

Leave me a insulted comment and I will ask your forgiveness!

Sourdough flapjacks with Blue berry syrup


I made breakfast this morning.

Usually my husband makes the coffee, tea and toast that we have each morning.


But yesterday, when I was feeding my sourdough starter, I realized

I had too much starter to fit into my container jar.

Much too much- and so I poured two cups into a

cup and determined to make sourdough pancakes this morning.

The recipe is quite simple.

Feed two cups of starter with one cup of bread or AP flour and one cup of water the night

before and cover.  The next morning add the following ingredients.

1 beaten egg

2 TBS oil

2 TBS sugar

1/2 tsp salt

And enough flour to make a batter

(I used about 3/4 cup)

Mix well together – until smooth- heat griddle until quite hot

(so that water sizzles when spattered into pan)

And at the last minute, mix 1/2 tsp baking soda with 1 TBS warm water

and stir into batter.  Do not stir again.  Pour batter onto griddle


and turn when many bubbles form on top.


The flapjacks are very light and delicious-


especially when you top them with homemade blueberry syrup and butter.


Taking good care of sourdough starter means that sometimes you have to sacrifice

and throw away some of the starter- OR- have sourdough flapjacks in the morning

instead of toast.  YUM- I like the second option!

(in which)The doldrums give way to moments of p-p-p-Pleasure

Strange title, that.

But really descriptive.

I am in the midst of the mid-winter doldrums.

Depression.  Down in the dumps.

The business of the holidays are over- and so is the magic and

mystery.  We have celebrated both spiritually and physically-

met together and rejoiced with those we love.

And now everyone is scattered.

And it is January.

There is snow.


It is kind of beautiful, but it is also cold and I really hate when the sun shines

on snow- it’s blinding. 

Today, however, I made a lunch up from various leftovers and it was very pleasing

to the palate and the ear.

Everything started with a P!


Fresh pineapple and pomegranate salad!


Potato soup!


Pulled Pork!


Pumpkin seeds or pepitas to garnish the soup and of course, my can of POP

(I know it is called soda in other parts of the world- but I call it pop)!


And my purple thumb from cleaning the seeds out of the pomegranate.

So- my alliterative luncheon gave me a moment of pure pleasure.

It happens that way sometimes.

BTW- did you notice the buns?  Fresh bread also makes me happy!


What is making you happy today?

Our first annual Porch dance on Chincoteague!

We are getting the front porch replaced and new steps added to the

house in Chincoteague.  It’s a big job and has taken the better part of

two weeks for our builder to accomplish- so tonight we ushered in this

new era of safe front porch with a porch dance!


Old porch.


No porch.


New porch.


Porch dancing crew!




It was a foggy sort of night.  We danced to James Taylor’s last Christmas

Album- and ended our dance with “Baby, it’s cold outside”.

The neighbors probably think we’re nuts.  The little boys think we are so

much fun.  And I?  I think this is the one and only porch dance I’ve ever attended

and I loved every moment of it!

Jambalaya and Dirty rice

The days are getting shorter- and the rain keeps

coming down.  The nights are cool- sometimes down-right

nippy.  The rose bushes are still hard at work, putting out

little buds that may never bloom- there is a killing frost

on the way.

It’s time for Jambalaya- Spicy and warm- tummy filling-

sensory overloaded Jambalaya with ham and sausage and

plump white shrimp.


(I keep the shrimp separate because my husband doesn’t like it.)


1 ham bone with ham still on it.

1 pkg. shrimp (medium 31-40 pieces)

5 HOT sausage links- cut into smaller pieces ( Andouille or Chorizo- or even Hot Italian or Hungarian)

1 onion, diced

3 stalks celery, diced

1 green pepper,diced (or hot peppers if you can handle it!)

1/2 tsp dried thyme- ground

1/2 tsp Old Bay seasoning

2-3 cloves garlic crushed

1 large can diced tomatoes

1 cup water

2 TBS chopped parsley

A couple of good shakes of Cajun spice seasoning

( or tabasco sauce or cayenne pepper)

3 or 4 TBS olive oil

2-3 TBS butter

Salt and Pepper to taste


Pour a few good slurps of olive oil in a large pan, add the butter and

heat until butter is melted, not browned.

Sautee up the shrimp with the crushed garlic- one layer at a time until the

shrimp are pink.  Using a slotted spoon, take out the shrimp and put in a bowl

to cool so that you can take off the shell later.  Leave behind the butter and

juices to sautee onion, green pepper and celery until soft, then add the ham

bone and sausages and simmer until sausages lose their pink and add the

diced tomatoes.  Then add the water, cover and let the whole mess simmer

for about 45 minutes on low, stirring occasionally.

Add spices and herbs, checking on the liquid so that the ham is surrounded by

sauce.  Leave to simmer another 20 to 30 minutes- then tear or slice off ham pieces

about the same size as sausage pieces.

Add cleaned shrimp for another 10 minutes of simmer time, and serve next to

or on top of pasta or rice- or next to some dirty rice.

Dirty rice is made up of :

rice, onions-red and white,sausage, ground beef,celery,green peppers,chopped giblets,

garlic,tabasco sauce,chicken broth,smoky paprika,cumin,parsley,cayenne pepper,and

anything else your palate desires!


Jambalaya- with shrimp- it’s good eating Spring- Summer-Winter-or FALL!

And it’s what we’re having for dinner tonight.

Add some good cornbread for dipping in the sauce- it’s comfort food all around!


For Sweetest Day- I got a dozen red roses- sweet.


Yesterday I picked a bouquet from the garden-



I’ve been doing a lot of new recipes over the weekend.


Whipped cream piled high upon gingerbread-sweet!


Orange glazed pork chops – savory!


Red head,blue eyed babies getting ready to nap-sweet!



Dreamy eyed boy with pickle-savory- sweet- adorable!

I’m sorry- the whole thing broke down when I uploaded the

last picture. I love little boys- they are the sunshine of my life-

even the ones who have grown up and are daddies.


I’ll put up the pork chop recipe soon- they were totally

delicious- sweet and savory!

It’s all about FOOD!

Today’s blog, that is.

ALL about the purchasing,making, preparing,

baking and enjoying of good food.

I am an admitted foodie!

I love all kinds of food- but I tend not to go too

heavy with sauces or pricey dishes.

I’d love to experiment and play with sauces and

expensive items- but my husband likes plain food

fixed well.  So that is how I cook. Mostly how I cook,



grilled pork chop with a stripe of homemade salsa, basmati

and wild rice and fresh corn on the cob.


roast beef on grinder roll ,green salad with olives and

freshly grated Romano cheese, and creamy Italian sausage and

flat bean soup.


We went to Wayne County- Farm country- to get the beans

and the sausage.  This is a bulk food store run by the Mennonites.


I love the sign on the door.  Definitely an indicator of what is

inside.   From God’s blessing on modest dressing to being –

Closed to Closed on Sunday. 


It has a deli- a baked goods area- a small produce table-


packaged bulk items- and fresh eggs from local farms and frozen meats

from local butchers.


And Lots of Mennonite ladies !


(also quite local!)


The market is right across the street from the church.

013 I bought the broad Italian beans  and

sausage and went home to make a really delicious soup.


Really delicious.

Creamy Italian sausage and bean soup


1 lb of bulk Italian sausage

2 large handfuls of Italian broad beans- almost 2 lbs.

1 sweet onion, chopped

1 large carrot, peeled and julienned

5 cups chicken broth

Oregano and Basil, dried 1 tsp each

fresh 2 TBS each chopped finely

1 handful of fresh spinach

3/4 cup half and half- or cream


Sautee sausage and onions together, add carrot and continue cooking until

sausage is browned, onion translucent and carrots shiny and cooked.

Add chicken broth and herbs and simmer on low heat for at least 30 minutes.

Taste to see if it needs salt and pepper.  Mine didn’t – although I ALWAYS add

fresh pepper at the table. Smile

Throw in your handful of spinach- this added a beautiful color and texture- and

put a lid to cover and cook for another 10 minutes or so.

Then add the cream, allow the soup to heat back up but don’t let it get to a boil!

Serve with a salad or sandwich. 


In my Kitchen

In my kitchen..


is this tomato that reminds me of a painting of a woman

combing her hair by Edgar Degas.  I was staking up the

plants and this one tomato fell into my

hand.  As I carried

it into the house- I saw this painting in my mind’s eye.

In my kitchen…



are these knitted fish filled with lavender – so fragrant-

I’m going to use them as sleep sachets.

In my kitchen…


are my new potholders that I knitted and then quilted.

I really don’t want to use them yet.  I’m just admiring them.

In my kitchen…


is a bag of  deeply aromatic coffee beans – ready to be ground!

In my kitchen…


is this wonderful stew my husband made!

He accidently defrosted stew meat and so

he found a recipe in an old Betty Crocker book

and made stew in a crock pot!  It was waiting

for me when I got back from my road trip-

what an absolute surprise!

In my kitchen…


is my new favorite snack-

dried vegetable chips.  The green beans are the best!

In my kitchen…


are many molds and crocks and grinders and corks.


After the yard sale, I have an eye on these things.

I am going to have to start downsizing my kitchen gadgets-

but it is SO hard!

Which would be the first to go?

I will think of that tomorrow.

What is in your kitchen?

(This is part of a series of “In my kitchen” blog posts initiated by

Celia on Fig Jam and Lime Cordial.  Go there to see a list of the other

bloggers sharing a peek into their kitchens!)

Chickpeas and courgettes-AKA- yesterdays lunch


Yesterday I had day one of a Yard sale.

Why do I do these things?  I’m leaving for a week tomorrow- I really don’t need

the hassle of doing this right before!  But I promised to get rid of some of this

STUFF that has accumulated in my basement and around the house- and Cynthia

is trying to get rid of some of her stuff- and Jordan wanted to get rid of- well- you

can see how it goes….


And this is how it went- SLOWLY- very S L O W L Y!

But- I had seen this recipe over at Zeb Bakes- and I

wanted it for lunch.  OK- I changed it a little a lot

and ended up with something quite different- but it

was so good I thought I’d share with you!


2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked overnight, and then cooked

for about 90 minutes until tender and toothsome.

1 onion, diced

3-4 slices thick meaty bacon

2 big handfuls of spinach

1 lb of small courgettes

lemon oil or juice from 1 lemon

salt and pepper, to taste

curry sauce


Chop up the bacon and fry it up in a shallow pan.

Add onions and sautee until soft.


I used a little green onion (scallions) for color..

Then add courgettes (zuchinni)003

and cover pan to let them cook- about 10 minutes


Add chickpeas,lemon oil ( about  TBS) or lemon juice, and stir in salt and pepper.

Taste, and then add spinach and cover to let the spinach cook down.




Serve with a drizzle of curry sauce ( I used a prepared sauce- Cynthia was out

watching over the yard sale and I wanted to get back to doing my share).

This was so very good- and filling- that it almost made up for having to sit

outside on a beautiful summer day and watch the cars drive by.

The sale continues today- I sure hope we sell a little bit more of this STUFF!